One of our neighbors, Tua Reh, has become especially precious to our team these past months, even as doors have been opening to share with him who God is.
Iven and I have known (seen) Tua Reh for years – I used to refer to him as “the veteran” because at that time he had a scruffy little beard and camo-colored hat he always wore over his gaunt frame. For years we weren’t sure if he could speak, and though he would often stand nearby clearly showing interest in our family, and even occasionally lift his hands in a traditional Thai greeting, if we talked to him he woul disengage immediately and disappear like a scared cat.
Matthijs and Lilian managed to get his name (or a version of it) from some other people who live on our streets, and they were determined to build a friendship with Tua Reh. The week the doors were officially opened to our new building we would often see Tua Reh standing outside watching us, in a friendly and curious way, but if someone went out to greet him he would scamper off immediately.
After a few days of this, I saw him sitting at our stone table in ront, and I hurried to fill up a cup of water and bring it out to the table without a word, running back inside before he had a chance to disappear. He took the water.
The next day I was inside with my kids and looked up to see Tua Reh standing in the doorway. I pointed at the water cooler, he nodded, and waited while I got him another glass of water. Meanwhile other members of our team were building trust and friendship as well. Not long after this I came downstairs and found him sitting on our couch. Now he is a regular, albeit quiet, part of our fledgling little community.
Last month there was an absess on his neck that was causing him a lot of pain and after multiple attempts our team was able to take him to the hospital to get the wound treated (he kept getting overwhelmed and leaving the hospital before a doctor could see him). Matthijs is now regularly taking him to the clinic for wound care, and Lilian and Ling managed to go with him to his nearby apparent hometown to try and make some steps towards finding out his real name and getting him a government I.D. card, a necessary step towards consistent health care.
During a worship time a few weeks ago I was breastfeeding Rinnan on the couch and Tua Reh confidently walked into the building and sat down next to me on the couch. I absolutely love taking part in even the smallest of ways of seeing one of our Father’s precious kids be welcomed in. We are so blessed to be a part of this broken and beautiful extension of His family.